Danny Cook brings curtain down on riding career

Danny Cook after winning the Charlie Hall on Definitly Red (Richard Sellers/PA) (PA Archive)
16:43pm, Wed 15 Sep 2021
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Danny Cook has been forced into retirement following the horrible fall he suffered last year that threatened his eyesight.

Cook, one of the leading riders on the northern National Hunt circuit, initially required 60 stitches in his face after the incident at Market Rasen in October.

He did return to action in November, but had a fall from one of his favourite horses, Definitly Red, in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and gave up his rides the following day. Cook has not ridden since.

“I tired to give it as much time as I could, but it’s been going on a year now and it just isn’t getting any better,” said Cook.

The problem arises when I bend over and tilt my head back

“I’ve had to face reality and base the decision on going forward.

“The problem arises when I bend over and tilt my head back. When I rotate my eye to go horizontal, I just lose vision and can’t see.”

Regarding the immediate future, Cook is set to join up with his family in the landscaping business – but he hopes to return to the racing industry at some stage.

“My family are all landscape gardeners so I’ll probably go into that for a bit just to get some money in,” said Cook, 38.

“I would like to get back into racing, but at the moment there’s a bit more money in the landscaping game just to tide me over until I get sorted.”

Cook had some memorable days in the saddle, including a Cheltenham Festival win on Great Endeavour. But one stands out above others.

“I’d have to say my favourite was winning the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Definitly Red. That was the best one for me,” said Cook.

“I got some great support when I moved up north, Brian Ellison stuck by me and then I built up a great relationship with Sue Smith.

“Things were all going well and my best years were probably still to come, so it’s a shame the injury came when it did.”

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